Ruchi Agri Soybean operation in Gambela, Ethiopia

Description
Ruchi Group is the leading cooking oil manufacturer in India. In April 2010, Ruchi Groups subsidiary, Ruchi Soya, signed a contract with the Ethiopian government for a 25-year lease on 25,000 ha in the Gambela Region for the production of soybeans. At the time of signing an option to double the area under lease to 50,000 ha existed. Production was confirmed in 2012 when the company harvested soybeans from its pilot plot. Local farmers complain of deprecated forest land and lack of jobs to locals: most of the jobs, they say, are given to ‘highlanders'. The locals and the government disagree as to the status of occupation of the land. The government claims the land to be unoccupied, 'virgin lands', while multiple accounts of' villigazation' from this region contradicts this claim.

Basic Data
NameRuchi Agri Soybean operation in Gambela, Ethiopia
CountryEthiopia
ProvinceGambela
SiteGog district along the Gilo River - Obela on the way to Pinyudo and is expected to extend its operations to Arieth village along Gilo River
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Specific CommoditiesSoybeans
Processing Facilities
Project Details and Actors
Project Details(2010) The company rents 25,000 ha and has harvested the first crop of soybeans. There are 11 Ethiopian contract workers. It plans to open a soybean oil manufacturing plant in Gambela which would create 1500 to 2000 direct & indirect jobs. The company has the right to build dams, water boreholes, and irrigation systems, and is exempt from taxes on imports of capital goods.

Project Area (in hectares)50 000
Level of Investment (in USD)$4 million (lease cost for 25,000 ha)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100,000 people in the tribe Anywaa of Gambela
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesRuchi Group from India
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOakland Institute, http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/, Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org, Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO, http://www.anywaasurvival.org
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Advocacy by international NGO and diaspora groups;
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Migration/displacement
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesConduct environmental assessment surveys, enforce relocation only if voluntary policy
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Due to pressure by NGOs and organizers the Ethiopian government has set up the Agricultural Investment Support Directorate to monitor land allotment which, according to its chief Essays Kebede, will be capped at its current levels. However evidence abounds of human rights violations in the villigazation process, which continues.
Sources and Materials
References

Rowden, Rick, 2011, 'An Examination of the Role of the Indian Government and Indian Companies Engaged in Overseas Agricultural Land Acquisitions in Developing Countries'
[click to view]

Links

, Scramble for Ethiopia's Land'
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, 'Contractual agreement made between Ministry of Ag & Rural development and Ruchi Agri PLC'
[click to view]

Anyuak, 'Unprecedented Land Grabbing and Destruction of Ecological Environment in Gambela, Ethiopia'
[click to view]

[click to view]

[click to view]

Media Links

Anywaa Survival Organisation, EJOLT, and GRAIN, 'Grabbing Gambela'
[click to view]

Other CommentsDue to proximity this conflict is related to Karuturi Global’s activities in Gambela. NGOs have issued multiple statements and reports against Karuturi, but internet searches returned no data on Ruchi.
Meta Information
ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014
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